ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COMICS & PUZZLES - BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

The South hand is not nearly good enough for a two-no-trump opener, which should be 20-21. Only rarely will you con­sider up­grad­ing a 19-count.Your plan of cam­paign should be to open one heart, hop­ing to raise a re­sponse of one no-trump to two, to sug­gest pre­cisely th­ese val­ues. At the ta­ble, when part­ner raises to two hearts (a con­struc­tive call if you play the forc­ing no-trump), you can of­fer a choice of games with a call of three no-trump. Now, as­sum­ing North de­cides his small dou­ble­ton club is a dan­ger sig­nal, you should fin­ish up in four hearts rather than three no-trump.

Af­ter a spade lead, there is a slight risk of a di­a­mond or spade ruff, but South might well de­cide that this looks like a sen­si­ble mo­ment for a safety play in hearts if the di­a­mond fi­nesse works. So it feels right to win the spade lead in dummy and play a di­a­mond to the jack.

If the fi­nesse loses, you will play a heart to the ace and a heart to the jack. How­ever, when the di­a­mond fi­nesse wins, you can af­ford one heart loser but not two. So lead out the heart king, then play a low heart to the nine.

If you lose this trick, you surely have the rest, apart from the two club losers. If West has four hearts, you have held your losers to one. And what if East has four hearts? Then when West dis­cards on the sec­ond round of hearts, go up with the ace and fin­ish draw­ing trumps.

AN­SWER: This hand is surely worth a sec­ond call, and the most de­scrip­tive ef­fort in my opin­ion is to bid three clubs now. Since you didn’t re­peat your spades, which you would do with five of them, this ought to be a four-card spade suit with equal or bet­ter clubs. I’m not sure if a dou­ble of two hearts would show this hand, and I am not pre­pared to take the risk of mak­ing a com­pli­cated call when a sim­ple one will do.

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